November 25 News Items

First Two Soyuz Launchers Arrive In French Guiana (Source: Space Daily)
Arianespace has marked a historic milestone with the arrival of its first two Soyuz launchers in French Guiana, which will be used to inaugurate service with this medium-lift workhorse vehicle next year from the Spaceport. The Soyuz 2-1a launchers were carried aboard the MN Colibri roll-on/roll-off transport ship, which docked on schedule yesterday morning at Pariacabo port near Kourou.

Delta-2 Launch from Vandenberg for NASA Payload on Dec. 9 (Source: Huntsville Times)
NASA is preparing to launch its latest astronomy probe, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, - also known as WISE - aboard a Delta-2 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California. The launch is scheduled to occur between 9:09 a.m. and 9:23 a.m. EST on Wednesday, Dec. 9. The mission is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif. (11/25)

After Space Station is Built, What Will Its Crew Do Up There? (Source: Christian Science Monitor)
Now that NASA has begun putting the finishing touches to the International Space Station, it and partner agencies have been posting the equivalent of slick travel brochures complete with a photo montage of astronauts serving as lab technicians or wired up as test subjects. It's one part of preparations for expanding the use of a space station that could remain on orbit through 2020 or even 2028.

NASA is doing studies to see if the certified lifetime of the station's structural pieces can safely be extended. Con gress last year asked the agency to find ways to keep the station operating past 2015. "We're doing a 30-year look at all the components," says space-station program manager Michael Sufferedini. "Assuming we get them all certified, we'll actually have a vehicle certified through about 2028." Click here to view the article. (11/25)

Rocket Stars: The Guys Making Rocket Science A Career (Source: Space Daily)
A nondescript sign along an anonymous road east of Dallas announces the location of bustling and urbane Caddo Mills Municipal Airport. Parked among the slumbering agricultural equipment and looking like yet another oversized bale of plastic-wrapped hay is a trailer-mounted tank of cryogenic methane. A refrigerated tank of LOX (liquid oxygen) hides bashfully in the shade of a dainty tree. The rain and wind beat down the unmown prairie grasses and form puddles on the narrow entrance road.

This is the home of Texas' most unusual rocket company, Armadillo Aerospace. All that outwardly heralds the presence of the company is a small sign over a few windows looking in on a sparse lobby decorated with a few trophies. Like a mad scientist's secret hideout, there is no obvious sign of the genius and frenetic activity going on inside the cavernous space. Click here to view the article. (11/25)

Martian Meteorite Surrenders New Secrets of Possible Life (Source: Compelling new data that chemical and fossil evidence of ancient microbial life on Mars was carried to Earth in a Martian meteorite is being elevated to a higher plane by the same NASA team which made the initial discovery 13 years ago.

The new data are providing a powerful new case for the Allen Hills Meteorite to have carried strong evidence of Martian life to Earth -- evidence that is increasingly standing up to scrutiny as new analytical tools are used to examine the specimen. 13 years after the Martian meteorite life story emerged, the science team finally feels vindicated. Their data shows the meteorite is full of evidence that supports the existence of life on the surface of Mars, or in subsurface water pools, early in the planet's history. (11/25)

Russian Proton Launches Commercial Satellite (Source: ILS)
International Launch Services (ILS) successfully carried the W7 satellite to orbit for Eutelsat Communications of France on an ILS Proton. The Proton vehicle lifted off from the Baikonur spaceport and successfully released the W7 satellite into geostationary transfer orbit. Proton has a heritage of 349 missions since its inception in 1965. (11/25)

Astronaut Says Mexico Needs its Own Space Program (Source: AP)
A NASA astronaut says he wants to help Mexican officials start the country's first space agency. Astronaut Jose Hernandez says he has no plans to leave his job at NASA, but hopes to help Mexico's program get off the ground. Hernandez is the U.S.-born son of Mexican migrant farm workers who spent much of his childhood moving between Mexico and the U.S. He says officials must invest more money in science, technology and education to make Mexico more competitive and diversify its economy. Legislators have set aside 10 million pesos ($775,000) for the Mexican Space Agency in next year's budget, but the program has not yet been officially established. (11/25)

Gift Guide for Space Jockeys (Source: CNET)
Hey you, Ground Controls and Major Toms orbiting out there! If you're a space aficionado or know someone who'd like to blast into the cosmos, it's time to take your protein pills and scroll through the following gallery for a definitive go/no-go holiday gift list. Click here to view the gift guide. (11/25)

'Solar Tsunamis' Tower on Surface of the Sun (Source: Cosmos)
Observations from NASA's STEREO space probes have confirmed that vast 'solar tsunamis', taller than the Earth itself, ripple across the Sun for millions of kilometers. The technical name is 'fast-mode magneto-hydrodynamical wave (MHD)'. The one the STEREO probes recorded reared up to 100,000 km in height, and raced outward at 900 km/h packing as much energy as 2,400 megatons of TNT. In the 1990s when astronomers first witnessed a towering wave of hot plasma racing along the Sun's surface, they were perplexed. (11/25)

Sensor Failure Ends Long-Lived Satellite Mission (Source:
A spinning antenna on NASA's QuikSCAT satellite has failed after more than a decade of operations, leaving weather forecasters without a critical tool to measure winds inside distant hurricanes and adding fuel to a political firestorm on a potential replacement. QuikSCAT has been used as an operational resource by meteorologists around the world. It has proven particularly invaluable in gauging the location, size and strength of hurricanes in the open ocean, far from land-based radars and outside the range of reconnaissance aircraft. (11/25)

Florida Congressman Introduces Satellite Modernization Act (Source: Rep. Ron Klein)
In late September, in anticipation of the QuikSCAT failure, Congressman Ron Klein (D-FL) introduced legislation to support a cutting-edge next generation satellite system. The Hurricane Satellite Modernization Act authorizes the construction of next-generation hurricane tracking satellites, as recommended by the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. The next-generation satellites will provide significantly improved information to narrow the cone of uncertainty and protect Florida’s families when a storm approaches. Click here for information. (11/25)

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